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Care Co-operatives for Disabled People and their Families and Allies


In the summer of 2020, EDG begun it’s new project Our Street Our Town, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and City of Edinburgh Innovation Fund , with the focus on the South Queensferry and Kirkliston area.

We are working with a whole range of people within the community, specifically those with disabilities and health conditions, their families and carers.

We want to find better ways to support people by bringing them together with local people who have skills and interests such as massage, cooking, IT, arts & crafts, hairdressing and sports coaching.

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Our project will find new ways of working, and new ways of supporting each other by looking at what works locally. When local people become part of this project it offers an opportunity for them to do something for their community and influence what could be available to people as ideas and options that might emerge.   

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The EDG team will use their experience to host and facilitate people to come together in South Queensferry to share what works well. We know people often have ideas as to how things could improve and what needs to change.  The COVID-19 crisis has presented many challenges, but it has also created a space for many people to think about doing things differently.

The National Lottery Community fund and the Innovation Fund are funding us to take our learnings from previous co-operatives developments into a geographical community to support the development of these two new co-operatives:-

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1. A community care co-operative, bringing together a range of people who would like to improve their lives through mutual support.

2. A workers’ co-operative, bringing together people with a range of skills and interests to identify local employment opportunities and meet the needs of others within their community.

Find out more about the background of the project here



Co-operatives are based on the values of


In the tradition of the co-operative movement’s founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others, supporting one another and acting together to serve their members.

By applying these co-operative principles and values into the context of care and support for people with learning disabilities we have an opportunity to change the landscape. Giving individuals and families a collective voice enabling greater scope and varied ways of meeting their needs and creating meaningful opportunities. 

Within the context of Self-Directed Support there is an opportunity to explore the possibilities for disabled people to pool their budgets and their respective families and allies coming together to develop the range of support that they collectively and individually need, maximising their purchasing power and enabling economies of scale.

Find out more about Co-operative values and what they mean to us here.

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EDG has been working with people with learning disabilities and their families for over 30 years. In recent years many families and individuals have made it clear that they want to have more control over the way support is delivered. People are looking to use self-directed support to design and manage innovative and bespoke support. This will give people the best opportunity possible to live meaningful lives where they can make their contribution to the community and be valued. 

After receiving a 12 month Innovation Fund grant we were able to research and explore a number of ideas including the co-operative approach. We identified a need for further work with co-operatives to take this learning forward. With a 'Big Lottery (The National Lottery Community Fund) award of £340k we launched the three year project on 1st April 2017 with a plan to establish 5 care co-operatives for disabled people and their families over the next 3 years.

If you want to find out more about the background of this project here


Covid 19 has interrupted our work and plans, but despite this we have been able to continue the background work.

In the summer of 2020, we sent out flyers to all households in postcode areas EH30 & EH29 describing our work and plans to develop the 2 co-operatives. We encouraged people to contact us.  If they had talents or skills, they wanted to offer or they wished to purchase the skills of their neighbours.

For the remainder of 2020 and into spring 2021


We aim to:


1.  Continue to spread the word, reaching out to as many local people as possible (we appreciate your         assistance with this!)


2.  We would like to hold series of information sessions with one or two people in local cafés.


3.  Once we have sufficient numbers interested in pursuing these co-op, after Christmas hold the first of 10-  session group project at a mutually convenient time. These sessions will be to give information, establish what the group wants from a co­-op, and to build connections between participants. It will be facilitated by EDG staff. By the end of this process the group will have a charter in place and feel equipped to begin setting up the co-op (still with support from EDG).

4.  Spring / early summer time 2021 to hold an open air ‘market place’.

5.  EDG will give ongoing support as the co-op becomes established and gets its support network in place.

6.  EDG only withdraws once the above is achieved.




Claire Edwards 


Project Manager

I have a vested interest in the success of the project to establish Care Co-operatives.

Shirley Young 


 Independent Evaluator

I have worked at EDG since 1991. I am currently a Development Co-ordinator but have had different roles throughout the years at EDG including Information Officer and Advocacy Worker.

Helen Wright

Development Coordinator and Graphic Facilitator

Helen Wright

Development Coordinator and Graphic Facilitator

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Lindsay Graham

External Consultant

I have over 18 years experience of working in learning disability. I have worked to support those with additional needs in independent living and in employment.


Helen Wright

Development Coordinator and Graphic Facilitator

I have worked at EDG since 1991. I am currently a Development Co-ordinator but have had different roles throughout the years at EDG including Information Officer and Advocacy Worker.




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EDG, Unit 16b, Castlebrae Business Centre,

Peffer Place, Edinburgh, EH16 4BB 

Tel: 0131 476 0522

Promoting Community Inclusion in Edinburgh

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Company No: SC217922 Charity No: SCO20079

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